Socioeconomic consequences of multiple sclerosis—A systematic literature review

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a challenging and disabling condition, predominantly affecting individuals in their early life, and has an impact functionally, financially, and on quality of life. However, there is a lack of systematic approach towards assessing socioeconomic consequences of MS. Our objective was to systematically review observational analytical studies investigating the socioeconomic consequences of MS. We conducted a systematic review on socioeconomic consequences of MS with a focus on employment-, income-, work ability- and relationship-related outcomes between MS and the general population. Additionally, the educational characteristics were extracted. From 4958 studies identified, 187 were assessed for eligibility and a total of 27 studies from eight countries were included in this qualitative assessment; 32 different outcomes were identified. All studies indicated pronounced differences between MS patients and the general population, for example 15%–30% lower employment, lower earnings and higher social benefits, higher absenteeism and presenteeism proportions, higher work disability (eg, sick-leave days) among MS patients. Some studies also indicated differences in the family or relationship characteristics. There were no apparent differences with regard to educational level. In conclusion, socioeconomic data can serve as robust outcome measures to study various aspects of MS reflecting the broader consequences of the disease.

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